On June 6, Jason Mittell, Associate Professor of Film and Media Culture and American Studies at Middlebury College, delivered the keynote lecture at the Popular Seriality Conference in Göttingen, Germany.
Mittell, who had had spent a year with the Popular Seriality Research Unit in Göttingen, explores the stakes of “the ends” of serial narratives, both how they conclude and how they make meaning—or how audiences make meaning from them. In addition to discussing scenes and thematic threads from television shows such as The Wire, Homeland, and Breaking Bad, he asks:
“Why do serials seem to embrace reflexive meta-storytelling so often in their final seasons, and can this explain why I feel so inclined to talk more about my experiences and process rather than actually presenting my research? Television creators seem to become hostages to their own storyworlds by the final season, so embedded in the process of storytelling that they feel the need to use fiction as an outlet to explore their own experiences, as well as offering closing arguments to prove the relevance and missions of their series.”